Monday, February 22, 2010

Reno Bound

So, as I mentioned, I am going to the US Bar Table Championships in Reno, NV - which happens to occur this week. I leave Tuesday night (weather permitting) and play starts Wed.

Instead of sharing my emotions going into the tournament, I will simply share FACTs. Ah, don't be disappointed, facts are good to know!

The U.S. Bar Table Championships is being held at the Sands Regency Casino/Hotel in Reno, Nevada, February 22-28, 2010.


10-Ball Tourney

  • Starts today (Feb 22)-Feb 24
  • Race to 7
  • Alternate breaks
  • Double Elimination
  • $6,000-added

9-Ball Tourney
  • Starts Wed, Feb 24-26
  • Race to 9 for the players in the open
  • Women race to 7
  • Alternate breaks
  • Double Elimination
  • $6,000-added to the Open
  • $1,000-added to the Women's division
8-Ball Tourney
  • Starts Fri, Feb 26-28
  • Race to 5 for the players in the open
  • Women race to 4
  • Alternate breaks
  • Double Elimination
  • $7,000-added to the Open
  • $1,000-added to the Women's division
  • Diamond Smart Tables
  • Pro-cut 4-1/2" pockets
  • Simonis 860 blue cloth
  • Red Circle Cue Balls
  • Aramith Pro Balls

Follow all your favorite players here. CSI has their great online bracket programming going on - check it out! As soon as a player hands in their score sheet, the online bracket is updated. It's so coolio. :)

Live Stream:

The Action Report will be streaming live throughout the event. I hope and pray at some point(s) along the week I get to commentate! Watch it here.


I just heard the attendance for first event (10ball) is up 20%. That is awesome! The other events are already up as well, but sign ups can still be taken so the final percentages aren't known.

Additionally, there is big hoopla about the women's events - I guess in the past the women's events were not very well attended, so they mighta thought they were taking a risk by adding the women's events this year. Turns out - it was NO risk at all! The "at least 16 women" criteria to have the $1,000-added is making lots happy because they already have more than 16 in both women's events! I guess I got lucky and picked the right year to go. :)

Sunday, February 21, 2010


Well, the Regional Tour Championships is coming to a close as a write this. One match to go out of 63 ladies. 9 Women received their Qualifier card. Hey, what does that mean anyway? That means, in simple-to-me-terms that: the top 9 in this tournament get a "spot" on the WPBA Classic Tour stops of 2010. The first place winner gets PAID spots.

It was a very interesting tournament - two round robin stages, then a single elimination bracket.

The first day and a half was round robin of 8 groups of 8 players, race to 6 (minus the one player that didn't show - not sure who it was). The top 4 of each of those 8 groups of the first round robin stage moved on to stage 2. It was based on games won, not matches won.

The players that made the second round robin stage got "in the money." The second round robin stage was 8 groups of 4 players (again, race to 6) and the top player with the most wins (not matches) of each group moved on to the third stage - which was single elimination bracket. Count peeps - that's only 8 players that move on and THAT is when they know if they get their Q card or not!

This was very exciting for the fans but I bet nerve racking for the players. The announcers had stats on the players and the fans on the stream would know that if a certain match was won 6-5 or lost 6-4 which player would get their Q card or not. What was more interesting was that the score of a certain match could affect a player not even in that match! It was very stressful! lol

The 9th player who got a spot was the player with the 9th-best percentage of the second round robin stage. They didn't get to play in the single elimination tourney, but they got a spot. Woo-Hoo! That player was Susan Williams - who played really well on the stream table on Saturday that I witnessed! Congrat's Susan!

The other 8 players who made the single elimination tournament who now have their qualifier card are: Emily Duddy (from NY I think), Shu-Han Chang (from Taiwan), Naomi Williams (from Canada), Mary Rakin (From CA), Amy Chen (from Atlanta), Kim Benson, Lisa Marr (from Arkansas) and Liz Lovely. Congrat's to these ladies as well!!

The OB Cues Tour was well represented and I was pulling for all of them. Sorry to see my friends Amanda and Ash not make it to the single elimination rounds - I know how much they wanted that. :( Love you gals! Kim and Michelle had a really great tournament and I am happy for them and of course Lisa who got her Q card!

Some of the OB Tour Ladies outside Hardtimes.

Here is some interesting tidbits from Shayla, who also represented the OB Cues Tour at the event:

"We played Stage 1 of the tournament on 24 tables. 10 of the tables are in the "tournament room" and the rest on the other side of the pool hall. The tournament room tables are all tighter and faster than the other tables. To try to make it as fair as possible, each round robin group was assigned 3 tables to play on for the entire round. So, we had to only get used to 3 tables. Some groups only played on the tight tables, and some groups only played on the other tables. But everyone in the group had to play on the same table. This was announced in our players meeting on Thursday night and no one objected. "

I watched the event all weekend on the live stream. I stand by my choice of not playing (no regrets there at all), but would have really liked to have been there to support my friends in person instead of from Texas. I am proud of all the ladies who went to this tournament! It's a honor!


The single elimination tournament was a race to 9. Chang won over Mary Rakin last night! Chang will get all her entries paid for 2010 for the WPBA Classics stops! As a reminder, the RTC is made up of the top players of the regional ladies tours - Chang came from a Tour over in Taiwan. Yep, that's right ladies and gents - tours from overseas can get WPBA sanctioned and then send their top players to the RTC to get a shot at the WPBA. This is actually one of the reasons the RTC is now the main way to get on the WPBA - because too many tours were being formed and there needed to be a new way to get players on the WPBA than just winning Qualifiers.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Sky Update

Whew! Prices finally went down on AA! As you may recall, I was having problems finding a flight under $400 to Vegas for the 8Ball Nationals in May. But, finally the price went down to $280 this week. I could have waited to see if they went down lower, but the prices have fluctuated from $280 to $400 all week and I didn't want to risk losing that price again like I thought I had on Tuesday (yea, I got a little upset Tuesday afternoon when the prices went back up in only a few hours! Argh).

I fly AA because I have all my frequent flier miles with them, their hub is near me (DFW), and because imma Gold member with AA, I can check my bags for free. :) Yea, I think I'm special at times, lol.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


I saw an unfortunate "thing" at the pool hall this week. I was sitting there with friends, watching some one pocket action on the middle table while I drank 25cent draft beer for Fat Tuesday for Mardi Gras.

On the left table, another gambling match of 9ball was going on. On the right table, a group of barely-21-year-olds were oddly holding the house cues and trying to make any ball they could with their funky stances.

I then saw something that disturbed me. You may not think it's a big deal, but it was to me.

One of the guys playing one pocket was checking out his options on the table, but realized he couldn't shoot his shot because one of the young girls to the right was in his space. She was debating what to do on her own table, and was just standing there. The real pool player looked at her (with a "come on, get out of my way" look on his face), and realized he could not shoot because she was in his way. He didn't even take 5 seconds to think about it or to see if she was gonna shoot soon. Instead, in the blink of an eye, he leaned into her and touched her back with his body to catch her attention so that SHE would move. She politely moved out of his way, he shot fast, and then she returned back to her table to try and make her shot.

I still can't believe I witnessed this. Again, it's prolly no big deal to you. But, he didn't tap her on the shoulder to ask her to move, he didn't wait for her to shoot, he simply kinda forced her out of his area. Now, being the blogger that I am with the Glass is Half Full Section in her blog, I am trying hard to find the half full/positive in this scenario. IMO, he was rude, he wasn't cordial, he didn't care. He wanted to shoot, she was in the way, let's lean into her so she will move out of MY space so I can shoot MY shot that is obviously WAY more important.

I could go on about how she was a female and he should respect chicks, but that would seriously bring out those guys on AZB that don't like me talking like that. I will say that if it was a guy, he would have done the same thing.

As I reflect on this post the next day (I wrote it last night), I now maybe see a Half Glass Full part! Admittedly, this next part will make the post less controversial, lol, but maybe, just maybe I SAW it wrong. Maybe when he leaned in he whispered to her? Maybe what I thought I saw was not what I saw at all. Instead of me seeing him touch her back with his body to get her to move, maybe in that moment, he was really leaning into her space and said, "excuse me" and I just didn't hear it because I was a table away.


Was That Sharking?

Three Mondays ago I played a straight pool match in my straight pool league against a guy I will call The Chalker. Last season, he was new to the league and I figured I could beat him based on that sole fact. Lol, yeah, I was wrong. Since Chalker beat me last season and because he was ranked high in our division, I figured he would have a good shot at beating me again. :(

In this second time we would meet, he had to cancel our first scheduled date. He would tell me later that he did indeed play a match that night with someone else, but because he had a six pack in him, he couldn't play well and he lost. Ahh.... inside information!

When I show up on this cold Monday for our match, I notice he's drinking a beer already. He starts off strong in the match and is ahead right away. Dangit! I start joking with him that I am going to get him drunk so I could win. He laughed it off as I bought him a beer. ;)

I joked many more times throughout the match, especially when people would come by to check out our score, "the only way I can beat him is if I get him drunk," I would proclaim to his friends. At about 50 points Chalker bought himself his third beer, and of course I kept joking with him and his friends about how I needed to get him drunk in order to win.

I don't know what happened or how it happened, but eventually I won! I don't think Chalker was drunk - he hardly drank a six pack and I only bought him one of his beers during the match, but I wondered for a few days after if maybe I sharked him a little. I admit I'm happy I won, but was it due to my jokes that maybe got to his head? Hope not - it wasn't my intention.

Monday, February 15, 2010

PoolSynergy - Favorite Player

Our goal this month for PoolSynergy is to write about our Favorite Player.

While I could easily mention why a couple of pros or regional players are my favorite, I would rather tell you know who my real favorite, 'favorite player' is.

What does my favorite player look like? Hard to describe - sometimes they are short, tall, skinny, thick; have blond, brown, or black hair; are male or female; are young or old; can be a good player, average player, or a pro player.

My favorite player is: that player who you happen to be talking to at a pool tournament.... and out of that conversation, you learn something enlightening from them. That to me is the epitome of my 'favorite player.'

Sometimes this 'favorite player' is a top regional player you seek out to ask advice about something you have been struggling with. But more often than not, I get enlightening advice from just a regular person who I just happen to be talking to at some point during a tournament. You walk away smiling from the great conversation you just had with this 'favorite player,' telling yourself to remember that golden nugget of great advice they just shared with you! I love eye opening moments, learning new mental toughness tips, and hearing advice about competing.

The 'favorite player' can be a person who has never cashed, or one that hasn't played competitively in over a decade, or one that only plays cheap sets for fun.... but they have a wealth of knowledge about overcoming nerves, focusing on the task at hand, not worrying about missed shots, how to overcome embarrassment.... just to name a few examples. My 'favorite player' helps me learn, improve, and grow. Having that chance encounter of chatting with them who then shares tidbits is why this player is, well.... my favorite player. :)

These situations from my 'favorite player' you hardly ever seen coming - it just happens. Bam! The favorite player just told you how they look at a piece of chalk on the table to avoid seeing who is in the audience. Bam! The favorite player just explained over dinner why he feels the pressure of expectations and how he gets over that. Bam! This other favorite player has never cashed but took Navy SEAL training and tells you that in order to help your breathing routine, make sure to keep your palms open up, not clamped or faced down while sitting in your chair during a match. Bam! You complain to a favorite player just after a match how bad you played and they share, 'you didn't look comfortable out there' and the comment leads you to take your time and you win your next four matches because of that chance encounter. Bam! You happen to be sitting in the stands and a spectator divulges a great preshot routine tip!

I could go on and on (now you see why I really like my 'favorite player.' :) )

Watch out for my 'favorite player!' You may never know when they are around. :)

Friday, February 12, 2010

Tulsa One Pocket Tourney - Final Thoughts

Gabe Owen's $12,000-added One Pocket Tournament in Tulsa, OK at Magoo's Billiards the weekend of SuperBowl was a lot of fun! Oh, and it was a great way to start off my early Birthday celebration. :)

Road Partner and Roomie for the trip - Ash and I

There were only two downsides to the event, so let's get those out of the way right now: My road partner, Ash, and I had to leave Saturday night for the 4.5 hour drive home so I could catch a flight Sunday. :( It was a bummer we couldn't watch the final day in person. It was also a bummer we got lost and added 45 minutes to our drive, lol. One of my friends texted me and said, "how do you get lost? Just go straight south to hit Texas." LMAO! Larry is so funny!

The other bummer was I rented a super cool lens for my Canon 40D SLR camera to take good pics at the event... but my camera didn't work with it! I then had to use my own little lens, but nada; my camera still didn't work!! :( I contacted my friend Shayla and she looked up work-arounds for me, but none of them fixed the problem. So, I didn't get any hi-res pics of the one pocket players like I wanted to. Dangit! And, I still don't know what's wrong with my camera and spent all that money to rent such a good lens, too. :(

Back to the good stuff - the tourney! 42 of the top one-pocket players in the world were there: Scott Frost, Rafael Martinez, Jeremy Jones, Cliff Joyner, James Walden, Earl Strickland, Gabe Owen, Sylver Ochoa, Joey Gray, Jose Parica, etc. Magoo's is a fabulous pool room, too - great staff, atmosphere, and food. Jim and Laura McDermott really cater to the players! Evelyn was the TD and she is the best! Everything was on time and ran smoothly and she handled any complaints well. Gabe did a GREAT job promoting his first event - he will make it an annual event, maybe have more!

Sylver Ochoa placed 2nd in the One Pocket Derby division just a week before to Scott Frost, so peeps figured they both might also do well in this event. But it was Mr. Ochoa who would come out on top at this event, claiming the 1st place prize undefeated!

My dear, lovely friend Samm Diep just interviewed Sylver for her new Pro Vision column on Samm did an excellent job in her article - and you find out why so many people like Sylver's demeanor in the pool room - calm, cool, and collected.

I keep getting diverted, okay, back to the tourney!

I watched many great matches! Well, duh, obviously, I mean, that's why I went to the tourney, right? lol. I was very impressed with Earl Stricklands' creativity of shots - he played really smart and super creative. He out-moved his opponents in many awesome, tight traps and put them in the stack more than most other playes that I watched over the weekend. Joey Gray was very patient and played good all weekend. Sylver's banks into the stack and his long rail banks were impressive.

The eventual winner, Sylver Ochoa, with Ash and I commentating on Thursday night.
Here are the final payouts:

T-Town Classic One Pocket
February 5 - 7, 2010
Magoos Billiards
Tulsa, Ok

Place Player Prize Money
1st place Sylver Ochoa $5,020.00
2nd place Rafael Martinez $3,800.00
3rd place Scott Frost $2,800.00
4th place Jeremy Jones $1,700.00
5th place Joey Gray, James Walden $1,000.00
7th place Gabe Owen, Chip Compton $700.00
9th place Jeff Carter, Earl Strickland, Joe MacNamara, David Strawn $500.00

Here are the trophies - hard to see because of the clear glass, but they were beautiful! Too bad Rafael Martinez didn't know it was NOT one piece and the glass fell off when he picked it up after the finals - it dropped to the ground, and broke in a million pieces I heard. Ooops.

You can follow the brackets here and see Sylver and Rafael's road to the finals. Joey Gray placed 5th and had a GREAT tournament, too! I fully admit it's pretty tough sweatin' matches all day, lol. Ashley and I had a rough time, hehe.

Ray BigTruck was 'in da house' and streamed the event for the fans at! He graciously allowed me to commentate and I really enjoyed discussing the options and shot selctions of this beautiful game of one pocket.

Ash, Ray and I

I was able to commentate with the champ himself Saturday night, but it was a super slow match and Sylver only lasted two games, lol. The knowledge I gained in those two games were amazing - I wish he could have stayed on the mic longer so I could learn even more. Before that, Sylver and Gabe commentated a match and I bet that was amazing for the fans to hear these two top players discuss options and shots! WOW!

Gabe and Sylver commentating on the live stream table.

Besides all the awesome one pocket knowledge I gained, I also met a lot of friends from the AZB Forums. I also met Andy Gilbert (and his wife) - famous cuemaker who played in the tourney. I also met Grumpy, of Shurtz cues, another famous cuemaker.

Ash and I had a really wonderful time and I am enjoying our trips together! We talked the whole way home about the great tournament - can't wait til next year! And hopefully next year we wont get lost, lol. ;)

Friday, February 5, 2010

Tulsa One Pocket Tourney Update

Haven't given too many updates because haven't been near my computer, but wanted to give a quick funny story.

First, 42 players, $12,000 added! Brackets are here. Magoo's is a GREAT treat for the players, fans, and die-hards.

Each player in the tournament wrote down their hometown city and a few accomplishments so when they are announced, the announcer can add a little bit of info for the fans. Well, one of my friends from the Austin-area in Texas is in-between residences. So, he wrote down his hometown city as "Toyota Prius, Texas" and they announced it! It was awesome, lol!

Keep following the brackets and the stream at I commentated yesterday and today and it was fun. I leave Saturday night, a day early, which is going to be tough to leave, but it's been fun so far watching all these great one pocket matches.

Too bad my big digital camera broke, though, or else I'd be sharing lots of pics. :(

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

I'm Going to Disneyland!

My dear friend, Monica Anderson, is a lovely person both inside and out. I care about her more than I tell her. She currently not only plays pool but also helps run the largest women's tour in the country - the OB Cues Ladies Tour.

Me and Moni

Her cue case is awesome and it has many top pool players' autographs on it - Allison Fisher, Johnny Archer, Earl Strickland, Iris Ranola, just to name a few:

At a tournament in January, Ashley and I noticed she had some OB Cues Ladies' autographs on the case - like Tara, Orietta, Lisa, and Amanda. Ash and I joked with Monica, "Why haven't you asked us to sign your case?" She laughed (we didn't know what was so damn funny, tho) and she replied, "well, when you win an OB Tour stop, you can sign it."

Therefore, after the elusive OB Stop win, I've decided instead of saying "I'm going to Disneyland!" I'm going to say, "I get to sign Monica's case now!"


Monday, February 1, 2010

One Pocket Update

I mentioned in my previous post about watching the semi-finals and finals of the One Pocket Derby online. So, when I went to practice Sunday after I finished playing ten ball, I obviously was itching to play some one pocket. No one was at the pool room that I wanted to play one pocket with, so instead I practiced my three rail banks. I did this for about 30 minutes. My friend Shonn from Houston showed me the two rail and three rails banks, but I hadn't really practiced them yet so this day I did.

It noticed I was short on all the three railers and finally figured out I remembered the English wrong that Shonn told me. LOL. I only hit a few two rail shots, mostly practiced the three rail banks for this 30 minute session.

My friend Fred came in and I asked him if he wanted to play and we played 4 games of one pocket. I played him even. I usually ALWAYS get a spot from everyone, but today I felt confident and tried him even.

Fred is about, I dunno, 85 years old or so, but knows the game well and still executes well. It's quite impressive!

I only won 1 outta 4 games, but I played really well! I hid the cue ball well from open shots on my side and also played pretty smart. Ironically, I only had one three-rail shot come up the entire time (LMAO) and more two rail shots came up but I didn't try them. I thought that was hysterical - the bank I practiced most didn't come up, and the other bank did. LOL.

I did scratch a lot in the first game and so that cost me the win, but I played smart otherwise and that felt great. In the last game, he had 7 balls and I had minus 2. I was proud, though, that I kept alive for a very long in that game and eventually only lost only 8-5.

I can't wait to watch the big One Pocket Tourney in Tulsa this weekend in person!!